Opening Bell: 05.20.10

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Trading-Firm Breakdowns Accompanied Market Crash (WSJ)

Citadel Investment Group stopped taking orders for a number of securities, according to an internal email and people familiar with the matter. Shortly after the market plunged, Citadel asked clients, including discount brokers such as E*Trade Financial Corp. and TD Ameritrade Holding Corp., to route orders elsewhere. Knight Capital Group was handling so many orders that one of its computers "just blew up," according to a person familiar with the matter. The breakdown led to a slight delay in handling orders and affected less than 1% of the firm's orders, the person said.

Schäuble sees financial markets out of control (FT)

Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany's finance minister, has warned that the financial markets are "out of control" and called for "effective regulation" to ensure a properly functioning market. In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Schäuble said markets would not work properly "if the risks and rewards are completely unbalanced". He called for the standardisation of products, regulation of over-the-counter transactions and measures to improve transparency "for all market participants".

Merkel warns markets over ‘honest’ regulation (FT)

“We need the financial industry to be honest with us,” she said at the opening of a high-level conference on financial market regulation in Berlin. “If we don’t get honesty, then we might not do the right thing technically, but we will do the right thing politically.”

Germany's 'desperate' short ban triggers capital flight to Switzerland (Telegraph)

"As a German citizen, I wish to apologise for the stupidity of my government," said Hans Redeker, currency chief at BNP Paribas. He said the CDS ban deprives reserve managers of a crucial hedging tool for non-securitised loans and will scare away global investors needed to soak up Club Med bonds.

Nomura Loan Chief Quits Job For Lifelong Safari Dream (Bloomberg)

“I see guys in banking in their 50s and 60s and I can tell, there’s no passion anymore,” Cortes says in a phone interview from Hong Kong, his home for the last 14 years. “My boss pointed out the next five years are the best income-generating ones of my life, but at the end of the day, it’s not all about money.” After starting luxury-tour organizer Asia to Africa Safaris with Standard Chartered Plc banker Victor Dizon in late 2002, Cortes will move to Cape Town in time for next month’s 2010 FIFA World Cup. He will pursue a personal passion and serve a growing base of customers seeking something different to another vacation in Europe or North America.

Paintings Worth $600 Million Stolen From Paris Museum (WSJ)

The paintings were "Le pigeon aux petits-pois" (The Pigeon with the Peas) by Pablo Picasso, "La Pastorale" (Pastoral) by Henri Matisse, "L'olivier près de l'Estaque" (Olive Tree near Estaque) by Georges Braque, "La femme a l'éventail" (Woman with a Fan) by Amedeo Modigliani; and "Nature-mort aux chandeliers" (Still Life with Chandeliers) by Fernand Léger. Naturally, all art collectors are suspects.

Wall St.’s Chosen Few in Obama’s Good Graces (DealBook)

Brian Moynihan, James Gorman, Kenneth Chenault, and some UBS guy (Robert Wolf) were the only execs invited to Wednesday's state dinner. No Jamie or Lloyd. Not even a Vikram. (Ken Lewis did try, unsuccessfully, to pull a Salahi.)

Whistle Blowers Become Investment Option For Hedge Funds (NYT)

“As soon as the I.R.S. begins paying whistle-blowers, more people will realize that this is a whole new class of assets to be monetized,” Mr. Desser said. “It will be limited in size, because only a percentage of whistle-blowers will have incentive to sell. But for investors there is potential here for outsized returns.”

`Complex Prime' Is The New Subprime for Struggling U.K. Mortgage Borrowers (Bloomberg)

U.K. mortgage lenders are offering loans to “almost prime” and “complex prime” borrowers with “minor historic credit issues” who may have experienced financial “blips.” They don’t use the word subprime. It's a dirty little word.

Dubai World in $23.5 billion debt deal with core banks (Reuters)

The deal, which includes no new money from the government and is broadly in line with proposals made in March, must still be agreed by banks outside the core negotiating panel, which holds 60 percent of the exposure, Dubai World said on Thursday. "We are not entirely happy, but we are in a no-choice situation. Under the circumstances, this seems the best deal possible, even though it is not entirely satisfactory," said a banker at a Gulf-based lender outside the core group.

M.T.A. to End Relationship With Goldman Sachs (City Room)

It's you.

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Opening Bell: 02.22.12

Fitch Downgrades Greece (WSJ) Fitch Ratings downgraded Greece's credit rating to C from triple-C Wednesday after confirmation of the country's second bailout package, which includes a debt exchange that will force bondholders to take a loss on their holdings of Greek debt. "The rating action is in line with Fitch's statement on 6 June 2011, which outlined its rating approach to a sovereign-debt exchange," the ratings company said. Fitch said it will lower its rating on the country's sovereign bonds to "restricted default" upon the completion of the debt exchange aimed at reducing the country's debt burden.